Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is one of the most-viewed esports of all time. Despite being more than a decade old, this franchise shows no signs of fatigue. In fact, CSGO is only growing in popularity. In 2022, the Intel Extreme Masters averaged more than 328 million viewers across the tournament. Eager audiences have plenty to get excited about in the months ahead. Later this summer, the Virtex Counter-Strike Stadium launches to celebrate the release of the long-awaited sequel to Valve’s first-person shooter.
What’s All the Fuss About?
Virtual stadiums aren’t exactly a new concept. Back in 2007, the Second Life platform hosted the first-ever virtual concert. However, Virtex marks a significant step forward for virtual spectator sports. Users can create a personalized avatar for exploring the online-only arena. Inside, there’s a lobby and lounge bar, as well as a main hall for networking with friends and strangers alike. However, functionality goes much deeper than this. Audiences will be able to immerse themselves in a true-to-life stadium environment, with 360-degree viewing angles for an authentic experience.
So far, the upcoming Counter-Strike 2 is the only title that Virtex is working with. Until recently, the only other Virtex-compatible title was Echo VR. However, developers Ready at Dawn recently announced that Echo VR servers would be shutting down for good in August 2023.
Counter-Strike 2 is currently in beta testing, with no clear release date announced yet. However, most insiders seem to think that late summer is a good bet. Expect to see Counter-Strike 2 live on the Virtex platform within weeks of the game’s release.
Can Everyone Join in the Fun?
Just like Counter-Strike 2, Virtex is in the final stretches of development. If you’re eager to experience the platform yourself, there’s still time to join the closed beta. However, bear in mind that there’s currently a waitlist and there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to participate until Virtex’s general release.
At the moment, the Virtex Stadium app is only planned for a PC release. However, after it’s landed on Steam, the developers expect to bring it to Epic and Oculus in the near future. The free-to-use app promises to be widely accessible to as many users as possible, with no need to create an account. All you’ll need to do is download the app to a compatible device and launch it to enter the virtual arena. You’ll be able to access the platform with just a microphone and a desktop or laptop. However, to reap the biggest benefits from Virtex Stadium, you’ll want to invest in a VR headset.
Are Virtual Stadiums the Future of Esports?
The appetite for live esports tournaments is growing by the year. Events like The International continue to attract peak viewership of more than a million. However, it’s not just online audiences that want a slice of the action. Revenue from ticket sales for live events has never been higher. The advent of platforms like Virtex Stadium brings together the best of both worlds. Gaming fans can watch pro-level tournaments from wherever they are in the world, without having to miss out on the social interactions and networking potential for a real-life event.
Wondering which teams will be representing at the Virtex Stadium. Head to www.1337pro.com/en/csgo/match-scores for the latest results to get an idea of who’ll come out on top once Counter-Strike 2 is open for business.